10 Learnings From 10 Day Vipassana Course.

I just returned from a Vipassana meditation retreat few days back.

And such a gorgeous experience it was.

Vipassana means insight. It means seeing things as they really are. The meditation technique is the essence of the teaching of Buddha, re-founded again in India and the world by Siddhartha Gautam after it was lost amidst 2,500 years of civilization. (For more details– http://dhamma.org/)

There is noble silence throughout. Noble silence? Complete silence of body, speech and mind. You can’t talk. You can’t gesture. You can’t read. You can’t write.

You just meditate.

You’re on your own, quite literally.

Initially, I wished I could document my experience with a pen and paper, as and when it happened. But, Vipassana is not about that. It is about self discovery, it is about experiencing.

I’ll try to jot down things, I learnt. So that, you can know and probably, you might just go for this. You want to. Trust me.

1. Silence is golden. And scary. We talk too much, connect too much and live in amidst of deep noise. And then suddenly when you’re thrown into complete silence, it will be scary. But hands down, this will be the most beautiful part of the entire thing. That is if you follow.

2. Slow down. Nothing will happen. Your life will completely slow down there. You’ll be in the now. In the moment. I watched sunset and sunrise, every single day. And it was so gorgeous. Living in now is beautiful. We all need to slow down and live more in now rather than the past and the future. Just slow down.

3. Ego is the ultimate evil. Remember this. Our pride, our ego, our possessive nature, our deep attachment towards ourself  and things is the root cause of everything horrible that has ever happened to you. While doing Vipassana, at least on some levels, you’ll see through that. And it’ll hurt. But it’ll be worth it.

4. What happens hardly matters. How you react does. Throughout our life, things will happen. Good things, bad things,blissful things and horrible things. They don’t make you happy or sad– how you react does those things. If you can learn to control your reactions, you have just learnt life.

5. Trying to control events is futile. And a waste of time. I have written about it before and it just got reaffirmed– trying to control the events or what happens is a tiresome and a futile exercise. You won’t be able to control, you’ll react negatively and you’ve just created an endless cycle– a horrible, endless cycle.

6. What is, is. We either glorify too much or we underestimate. We have always been taught things that way. Learn to observe. To see things as they are. If it is a rock, it is a rock. If it is a flower, it is a flower. What is, is. This forms the crux of the technique– to see things as they’re. Not one scale up, not one scale down, just as they are.

7. Equanimity. Total and complete equanimity. We’ve been brought up in an environment, where you jump with joy if something good happens and generate an emotion of greed and whenever something horrible happens, we generate anger. As per the technique, this behaviour is the cause of all the pain. Be in the moment. Take it in. But with the essence of equanimity.

8. Changing, changing, changing. Everything arises and passes away. While doing Vipassana, you learn through experience that everything arises and passes away. It comes and goes. It comes and goes. Eternal process, that is. What point of clinging? Let go of your anger, resentment, fear, greed. They only cause suffering and they’re bound to pass.

9. Look within. Experience. Don’t just believe. Experience. Turn your attention from outside to inside. Everything is fine outside. The problem is you and your reactions. So, work within. And don’t just believe a thing. Know it. Through experience. Rest forms of knowledge might just come and pass away. This will stay.

10. Until you know yourself, you can’t do anything for others. If you do the technique right, you’ll experience the oneness with everyone. The universal oneness that is there in each and every being. And if you even get a hint of that, you’ll be kinder, more loving, more caring and more compassionate. Know yourself, first. Rest shall take care of itself.

Go there. Just go. Take ten days out, without excuses and go. You’ll love it, it might be scary at first and for certain other points. But it is worth, every moment of that thing.

Go there. Love. Be awesome.

And fly, for anyone’s sake. Get the hell out and fly.

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20 Things I am glad I know before turning 20.

I’ll be turning 20 in a month or so.

And life till now has been beautiful even though chances are that I have not seen half of the things, life has to offer. It is still beautiful.

I have failed– a lot. I can’t even remember all the times, I have failed. In life, in organizations I work, in relationships– everywhere.

But all the failures left lessons. All the people who were in my life or are in my life, left a lesson. And it has been beautiful.

Probably, as a pre-birthday thing or as a new series named– “List It Down”, here are 20 things I am glad, I know before turning 20:

  1. Everyone won’t like you. And that’s OK. You’ll always have people who don’t like you. There will always be people who will apparently hate you. There will always be people who don’t even like standing near you.  For no rhyme or reason. And you know what? That’s OK. You can’t connect with everyone.  So let this go deep into your soul and agree with it. Not everyone will like you. And that’s OK.
  2. You’re not your job. Or degrees. Or your cars. Or your mansions. Or your stuff. You’re not these things.  You’re probably how you love and how you care. How you’re humble and how you treat people living in worse condition than you. You’re what you feel, what you think you feel and what you’ll feel. You’re how you behave when everyone is shouting. You’re all these. Keep this in mind. You’re your passion and how you live.
  3. You’ll go through unimaginable pain and trauma and you’ll think you’ll never come out of it. But guess what? You’ll and it’ll be OK. I know, I have had moments where I completely broke down, cried, shouted my lungs out and thought that I’ll never come out of it. But, I have. Yes, the scars are there. Yes, it still hurts sometime. But, it has made me stronger. And, I know more are yet to come. But, I know I’ll come out of it and all will be OK.
  4. The world outside is cruel and sick.  It is true. The economy is at all times low, the society structure is being desecrated, people are fighting and killing in names of so many things. Empathy is at all times low and egoism is what drives half of us. Accept it. You know why? Because ranting doesn’t solve issues. So go out and change things in however small way, you can. Trust yourself. You’re the hope, this world has. Don’t give up on it, as yet. Love more, trash less.
  5. Take responsibility of every action of yours. You’ll fuck up so many times, you’ve no idea. You’ll hurt others, you’ll impact lives negatively and you’ll have to make it straight. Accept it and work towards it. Also, you’ll impact lives positively and you’ll have to defend yourself so many times. No one else will do it for you. So, accept when you fuck up but don’t let anyone ride over you. Find the fucking balance.
  6. People will tell you’re a crazy loser and will do everything they can to bring you down. This will happen. Some people only remain by your side as far as, they feel comfortable. As soon as you do something they’re not comfortable with or you try to do something they never thought you’ll, they’ll call you crazy. They’ll call you fucked up. They’ll call you thousand other things. But if you believe yourself, if you know what you’re doing. Keep at it. Don’t listen to them. Weed them out.
  7. Forgiving and letting go are crucial, if you want to be at peace. Really forgive, move on and let go. Many people have done me wrong, I have cried because of them and my entire life got upside-down because of them. And, I have kept hating them. Seeking revenge and whatever. But it is worthless. And will destroy you. Nothing is as liberating and freeing as forgiving and letting go. And they don’t have to ask your forgiveness. Just give it to them. And fucking LET GO.
  8. Never fuck with people who genuinely love you. Really. Please don’t. You know who I am talking about. The people who are always beside you, your best friends, your family, your lover– whoever it maybe. Never and I say NEVER, fuck with those who genuinely care about you and your being. Be with them, support them and love them. They’re truly precious and one of a kind.
  9. Go easy on the need to get validated. It is very tempting, I know. I have been there. With all the social media tools available now, it has become easier than ever to get validation from people. Likes, hearts and mentions. Go easy on them. Never, ever give someone or something that much control that it can easily impact your mood. Remember if good comments make you jump, what will bad comments do to you? Go easy. It is good to get praised. But don’t over-do. Find a fucking balance.
  10. Go easy on the Ego and “I” syndrome. A lot was achieved before you and a lot will be achieved after you. So go slow on the egoistic and ‘Holier-Than-Thou’ attitude. Yes, you might be smarter than everyone. Yes, you might be witty and funny and Bill Gates. But it doesn’t matter. Be humble. You’ll learn more. You’ll appreciate more. And you won’t be a jerk.
  11. Never beat yourself up. Never. You might be in the thick of the world’s most fucked up problem, but never hate yourself. Or say, you’re not worth it or you deserved it. It is not other’s duty to love you, it is yours. So trust yourself. You’ll come out of the rut. You’ll be OK. But, never not for one second, hate yourself. That is the worst thing you can do to yourself.
  12. You’ll make mistakes. More mistakes than you think, you’ll and that’s good. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re stagnant and not moving froward. Make mistakes. Make more mistakes and accept each and learn from each of them. Really. Don’t be afraid of mistakes. I know, I was initially so afraid. Still am, somewhat. But it is absolutely gorgeous to witness the change in you after a mistake. Just remember the golden rule– Never, ever repeat the same mistake.
  13. People will talk. A lot. More about you than with you. So accept it and move on. Really. People talked when I left the course I was doing. People talked when I devoted my time to a voluntary organization and people again talked when I started this blog. So, it’s OK. Don’t fear their talks. Do what you want to, with love and passion. They’ll talk. So never fear what people will say. They have said a lot of things and they’ll say some more. Don’t let it stop, you. Go and be awesome.
  14. It’s OK to let some people go. There will be some people in your life and their thinking and your thinking will never match. They’ll always do the work of pulling you down, telling you how you suck and are good for nothing or you just can’t connect with them and feel negative. And, it is completely OK to let go of such people. Just let them go. Not with hate or revenge. With forgiveness and a feeling of moving on. It’s OK. Not everyone is meant to stay.
  15. Don’t fear change and let go of the need to control. In the initial phase of my life, I was always sad or irritated because things never went as I thought they would. And too much was changing too quickly. And, I tried resisting it. That was worthless. Change will happen, you want or no. And people will change and do as per their wish, not yours. You can just decide, how you’ll react to the change. Let go of this need. You’ll be happier. Much happier.
  16. Find what you love. Do what you love. Life is too short. I can’t stress on this one enough. Life is short, like really short. There is no point of doing something you detest. You’ll die with all the regrets of the world. And that’s not a very healthy process. I know, there are so many factors. But always be on search of something you love. Do it part-time, do it after office, do it before. But never let it go. Hold it tight. And follow it in whatever capacity. But do follow. And never stop searching.
  17. Be selfish but at the same time lookout for the people in need. People have either told me to be selfish or be completely devoted to community. I say don’t do either. Find a fucking balance. Be selfish. Learn new things, explore and put your happiness ahead because you can’t do anything for anyone until you’re happy yourself. But lookout for the needy, the community problems– Poverty, education, hunger. And do something for them in whatever capacity. You’ll feel fulfilled. I promise.
  18. Learn to Listen. That’s the single-most crucial and best quality to have.  And when I say, listen. I mean really listen, not with the intention to reply, not with the context to what it means to you. But just listen, with the intent to listen.  This will mean considering everyone as equal, everyone as only one thing, without judgement– Humans. Learn to listen to others. Learn to listen to yourself. Empathy cannot exist without that. That deep listening skills. To feel every word. That type of listening.
  19. Always be curious enough and willing enough to learn. And never stop. There are so many things we don’t know. And chances are there will always remain things, we’ll never know. But be curious and willing to learn new things. Be willing to make a difference. Be willing to take on new adventures and see life as it really. That is what will keep you going. And probably, that is how wisdom comes into being. Be willing to love. Be willing to learn.
  20. You are fucking awesome and you are valuable in yourself. Don’t let anyone say otherwise. There will be people in your life, who will make you question your value, your worth. And they’ll come, if they haven’t yet. At that time, always remember, your being human is valuable in itself. And whatever happens. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Ever.

That’s it, I guess.

What are some of the lessons you think should make a part of this list?

 

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*Part of Daily post challenge.

 

 

Minimalism- The Trap Of Security.

Minimalism and India, Minimalist, that indian minimalist, security, illusion

“If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking… is freedom. ” 
― Dwight D. Eisenhower

I left a course I was pursuing months back.

It was not something, I found interest in. Not something I had a heart for. Not something, I could do for life.

It was a hard decision to quit though and often met with judgements and lots of criticism and questions, till date.

I realized soon enough on why I was sticking to it.

It gave me a false sense of security. I felt secured. I could answer very proudly if someone asked me about my life.

I could wear masks and go on with my life without ever admitting that I really don’t like what I am doing.

But, the place was secured. Known to me. Known to my brain. I was acquainted to the misery. It was my friend. I made my peace with the unhappiness and over-time turned it into a shadow.

I got mails where people tell me they are unhappy with their lives, their jobs, their relationships– basically everything.

Simple question, I ask them and I ask you,  “What stops you from moving ahead? What stops you from moving forward?”

It is that sense of security. That false sense of security. That fear of losing the cover.

That is stopping you.

That is putting you in misery.

That is stopping you from blooming.

I say bloom. I say step out of the comfort. I say let life unfold.

What’s the point of sticking to misery when you can fly?

Why are you not flying?

Ask yourself.

Why are you still in that relationship which is making your life miserable?

Why are you still in the job you detest?

Why are you still studying something you hate?

What purpose does it serve?

I am not saying to be irrational and take decisions. I am saying a simple thing which is that security is an illusion.

How can you be secure in life?

What security you talk about?

For what purpose? Why? We wear masks and say yourself everyday that we’re secured. And, we make friends with misery. Make friends with unhappiness. And we keep dragging ourself till the end. Still in the illusion of security.

There is no security. We’re too depended on so many countless known and unknown factors to be secured.

Snap out of it. Freedom cannot go with the illusion that security is.

Stop being friends with misery just because it is known.

Come out, be more than that. What are you doing?

We both know you’re so beautiful. We both know you have so much potential. We both you’ve survived so much and have grown so strong. You are listening?

Break that relation. You say, you see security. But what about misery? What about unhappiness? What about dependency? What about freedom? Come out, you.  Be more. Since when you need other person to be happy? Be love.

Leave that job, you hate. Not instantly, plan and figure out. But know that, false sense of security is no reason to let go of dreams. Yes, we need money. To live. To eat. To survive. So okay, do that but at-least cultivate passion. Be love. Someday, you’ll come out it. I promise. But, accept it first. What security you talk about?

Step right out the comfort. Give yourself time. What’s the hurry? Let your being rejuvenate and figure out what it wishes.

As for the security, that will remain an illusion. Don’t let yourself fall for that. Go and dare. What will people say? They say many things. They’ll say one more thing. The important question, what will you answer yourself at the end of your life? Have you given it a thought?

Prison is a prison. Decorate it with colours and flowers and watch television with popcorn, it’ll still remain a prison.

And you may not agree but I say this, be insecure. Let yourself be insecure. Let yourself be searching and seeking and finding and loving. You ought to be insecure, how else will they know about your throbbing heart? Your mind will decay with all the security. Let it grow. Don’t make it stagnant.

Are we so dead? No, live. Live with the pain and suffering. And all that is beautiful and ugly. Just live. I promise, it is good.

Do whatever. Take that trip. Leave that course. Fall in love. Leave that job. Paint and sing. Dance and write. Draw and love. Do whatever. But do it. Don’t get into the dogma of security. For fuck’s sake, stand from the rut. Move that body. And create. See the universe? It’s so gorgeous. Go out and serenade it with your love.

Next time someone says, you’re insecure. Say you’re. We’ll are. Who’s not I ask you that? What’s this mask of security everybody wants to wear?

As for security, leave that for those who’re in grave. They earned that after a meaningful life.

As for you.

You go and fucking fly. And live. And breathe. And dance. And sing.

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On Not Being a Control Freak.

 

President_Gerald_Ford_meets_with_his_Cabinet_June_25_-_1975

 

“How would your life be different if…You stopped worrying about things you can’t control and started focusing on the things you can? Let today be the day…You free yourself from fruitless worry, seize the day and take effective action on things you can change.” 
― Steve Maraboli

I receive mails.  About how people are unhappy with parents, friends, relationships, life and some also mentioned God. And when I read those mails, there is a common pattern in most of them.

All the people, they want to control.

Control people. Control situations. Control things. Control life.

Truth? You can’t.

How often we set goals? And how often we fail?

How often we plan it all nicely and how often we realize that in all truth that the future is in all honesty completely unpredictable.

You don’t even know what will happen tomorrow and ironically, we try to control years in line.

Working in a youth organization with youth leaders gave me a tremendous experience. I have seen so many of them trying to control the people hierarchy wise below them.

How will we control people? We can hardly control our own mind. How do we think, we can control other people?

The world is chaotic and complex. And, we seek to control it on every occasion. We want to control our surroundings and people and future and situations and what not.

And that’s the root of all the misery.

We want to control, we want everything to be according to our egoistic expectations and when it turns out different, we are saddened and hurt. When people don’t behave in the way, we want them to, we get angry and whimsical.

I ask you. Why will they behave in the way you want? They’ll behave in the way they want.

Sure, you can try to understand them. Help them. Be with them. Probably, give them some words as guidance and help. Or put-forth your view too. But that’s probably the end of it.

You can’t control their thinking. You can’t control their being.

And what is this fuss about trying to control the future? We can be cautious about or be prepared but you can’t control.

How will you control a thing which doesn’t exist?

I say, let go. Let go of things, you can’t control. Let go of the desire to control. Live more freely.

Have you seen a bird? A bird flies. Most of the times without destination– it flies and sings and dances and mates and eats and prey, it does all of it. It either goes with the flow or deals with the wind, as and when it comes. It doesn’t try to control the wind, it can’t. It doesn’t try to control the other birds in the sky or the sky itself.

How can it? it sounds silly even with the thought of it.

We’re pretty much like the birds. Our culture of being overly aggressive and goal-orientated has made many of us into bots. We fix a target and start moving and we try to control everything in such a way that the outcomes remains the same.

But can we truly control?

I say let go of the need to control.

Flow with life for once. Truly live it, with all that is beauty and all that is ugly. How will you know beauty without the ugly? Accept both. Live openly. Love openly.

Drop expectations. What’s the point to it? It only makes us miserable. Let the life unfold like a beautiful book.

For once and all stop the try to control people, that leads to judging. How about just understanding and helping? Without the desire to mould them as we want, like some statue. They’re human and chaotic. That’s what makes them beautiful. Accept them as they’re.

How about letting go of ranting or feeling miserable about things you can’t control? When you come in a position to change, then change. Till then observe and understand and love. What’s the point of this futile exercise?

Plan but not way ahead. Step slowly, guided by the moment– the values of today, the passion of today and then take a step, slowly with a deep breath and a sense of belonging. Live in the moment, with the moment. Truly live.

Don’t try to change the situation. Change your reaction. Ever played a game of cards? You can’t change the cards once they’re dealt, that’s not within your control. How you play them, that’s in your control. So just play. Play for playing.

And many might not agree with it. And, that’s fine. We’re tailored in a way to look only ahead and not now. To try to control the future. To try to control every single bit.

Many will say, “Not plan for my career? What about money? What about this and what about that?” I say, plan. But plan for the moment. Not future. Plan guided by now, what you’re feeling now, what is your intuition now. Not future. Future will come when it has to, anyway.

Try this for once. Live freely. Break the chains of control. And fly like a bird and swim like fish.

Since when did bird started caring about the sky or who is flying? It doesn’t. It is in the moment, living the beauty that flying is.

A fish will just swim. It has no need to control the sea or other fish. It’ll dance and sing and swim, it’ll mate and eat. And deals with the flow as it comes.

Free yourself. Fly and swim. And sing and dance. For once, instead of trying to control everything, try merging and accepting and just flowing.

And that’ll be the most freeing thing ever.

Fly. Flow. Dance.

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Minimalism- What makes you ‘cool’?

Spring-Party

“How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

― Abraham Lincoln

One of my biggest flaws has to be pretension.

Really. I am still working on it, really hard.

I have improved though. A lot, considering how I was few months back.

I do admit that I was in a race to impress. And that was probably just because I wanted to look ‘cool’

I wanted a cool hairstyle and cool clothes and cool gadgets and you know just be cool.

I wanted to be the person who has most friends on Facebook with maximum likes on his DP and retweets and followers on twitter and hearts on Instagram.

I wanted to be the person who would have the coolest house and cars.

To have fancy decorations in my house and perfect furnitures and Rolex watches, not just one but many.

Because let’s face it, that’s how you get respect.

And that’s how you’re cool.

By your looks, cars, mansions and by your gadgets and stuff.

And what you need for that?

You need money, bwoy.

So, I never asked if that’s what I really want to do with my life. I just set my highest goal as becoming ‘cool’ and decided that earning huge chunks of money is the only way to do that.

So that I can purchase emotions, ask respect and add a layer of pretension to my self and look cool.

4 months later, I laugh on myself.

But I really wanted this for my life a few month back, just so that I can look cool.

There are few things which changed the entire definition of cool for and I realized being cool is not really being cool.

1) I came across authentic people

I stumbled upon Minimalism and through that I came across to personalities who do none of the stuff I mentioned above. But they inspire beyond words.

People like Leo, people like Joshua and Ryan, people like Joshua Becker, people like Colin.

These people have only one thing to them: they are authentic. They admit when they fail. They don’t pretend. And they’re perfectly happy with who they’re, with the flaws.  Honest and genuine.

They live unconventional life.

And they really inspired me. And millions others.

And that’s when I asked myself, who is really cool?

2) I realized ‘coolness’ is based on perspective 

Really. What is cool for me now was extremely uncool for me, few months back. It just took few months and change of perception. That’s it.

So there is no right or wrong about it. No objectivity. It is perspective based.

You can feel a small hut is cool or a big sprawling mansion is. Who knows?

So I urge you to not judge anyone. But I also urge you to not follow blindly what you think is cool based on other’s opinion.

Because it might turn out to be different.

That’s it in entirety.

3) Being cool doesn’t equate to being respected

If you respect me because of my clothes or gadgets or cars and other exterior stuff: likes on facebook and hearts on instagram and followers on twitter.

You respect the idea of me and not me.

I am not my stuff or things or something.

I am far much more.

And you don’t really care about that.

If that’s what you are ‘being cool’ for: not going to happen, mate.

4) Your people don’t give a fuck

Your real people- your real friends- don’t give a fuck about you being cool.

Really, I have people, my people and with them I do all sorts of stuff.

I send them crappy texts, I send them horrible voice-notes, I send them pictures of me with weird and ugly expressions.

And guess what? They are there.  Because they know me from inside and they know who I really am and they respect that fact.

Hell, I might run around in jockey someday on the streets and they still will be there.

For them, it is about who you’re. Not your stuff, not what you do but who you’re.

5) You start losing your authentic self

I was never into parties. Not that it is inherently bad to go partying, I just don’t like it.

I was never into EDM sort of music. Again, not that it is inherently bad. It’s just that it is not my type of music.

Same with clothes and many gadgets.

But in the start, I used to pretend to like many such things anyway because I thought that’s what will make me look cool.

And I started to lose pretty much all who I really was in-order to be who I am not.

And that’s pretty terrible thing to happen. So avoid.

Be authentic to who you’re. Because trust me, that is all really that is cool about you.

I won’t lie. I still sometimes slip and go back in the trap. I do, I am all human and I am all mistakes.

But with the difference that I immediately get aware and snap out of it. I try at least.

The question is to not ask what other people think makes you cool. The question to ponder is what makes you cool.

So tell me now-

What makes you cool?

Other awesome reads-

1) The Tyranny of Cool– This awesome New York Times article.

2) Ending the Tyranny of Cool– The Minimalist

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Minimalism and Expectations.

“There were two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations”
― Jodi Picoult

 

I haven’t written anything this past whole week.

I have reasons. But, as a person, who promotes choice it will be unfair to give them or even to believe that they are valid enough as reasons.

I didn’t write. Plain and simple.

The problem however lies where I expect myself to write.

The bigger problem is that people expect me to write. And that too in a certain way and context.

And, it did weigh me down to not be able ‘stand’ up to it.

For this post, I have a gentle request.

For the next 8 minutes or so, forget all about what you already know about expectations. Allow me to bring another face to it.

You might agree or disagree. That’s completely fine.

But try reading the post with the least preset ‘expectations’ about the word ‘expectation’ in particular.

Expectations.

Without even consciously thinking, this word has become one of the most dominant force in our lives.

How?

We expect. A lot. From the life. From our world. From people around us. From ourselves. From Government. From organizations. From every single one and thing around.

Really. Think about it. Look around and try finding one thing or one person from which you don’t ‘expect’. It is a dare.

So what is wrong with that?

There is nothing wrong with it. We’re not thinking about what is wrong and what is right and so on and so forth.

We’re thinking about what impact does it create on your life.

We are thinking whether it amplifies or reduces your happiness level.

We’re thinking that.

I have had many fall outs with many people.

And part of the reason always has been that we both ‘expected’ certain things from each other that we would do or not do.

And, I let many people go. And, I now realize that, many beautiful and gorgeous soul go because somehow they didn’t meet my expectations.

Chances are you also have let many people go.

The question: Are they liable to stand on your expectations?

Bigger question: Did those expectations make you happy?

In a way yes, It is that old clichéd writing about expect less.

But there is a reason, it is clichéd. It has been used and told so many times that we don’t remember its importance anymore.

Refreshing the memory a bit.

Are you asking us to stop expecting from people? That sounds insane.

Well, no. I don’t ‘expect’ you to do that.

But let’s consider it for once and see.

What will the world look like if there are no expectations?

Your relations will be healthier because you have not created a standard. Things that should make you happy will make you happy. Things will surprise you. You’ll be always excited about the relation.

Your life will be so damn good. Imagine, you have no expectations from your life. Better, neither does anyone else. You’re free to do what you love. No one expects something out of you. And neither do you.

The world will be better place. There is no society expectations to shape you in a manner they find appropriate. Everyone can breathe. Live their individuality. And love like never before.

Sounds radical. I know. But sounds good. At least to me.

I do agree that many place to expect is necessary. It is genetic. And often serves as a base. But we misuse it. Abuse it. To the point where it hinders with our own being. Our own happiness.

Apply minimalism to expectations, that’s all I ask.

Replace the word ‘expectations’ with the word ‘quality’ wherever you can.

What does applying minimalism to expectations looks like?

Search for quality in life. Search for quality in relations. Search for quality in every single individual.

Don’t expect from life. From things. From relations. From people.

They are not liable to fulfill it. They don’t owe you anything.

Don’t let false expectations run your life. You’ll be unhappy.

Because you’ve created that egoistic expectation bubble around you. That bubble inside which you sit and think that people owe you something. That the world owes you something. That life owes you something.

Reality alert: It doesn’t.

That bubble will break eventually. Like every other bubble. And it will hurt, badly.

Let everyone breathe their individuality. Things that make them who they’re. Not things that you want them to do. Or not how you want them to be like.

How they’re. Accept it. Because life, world and people: they’re beautiful regardless of your expectations.

In those whole expectations, there is only one loser. That is us.

The one who expects.

It is difficult. Obviously. We have been molded into beings who expect. I am myself yet to let it go, completely.

But it works. Like charm.

With less expectations, life surprises you. People surprise you. The world surprise you.

Because you let them breathe.

You let them breathe their complexities.

You let them breathe their individuality.

You don’t ask them to be how you think they should be.

You let them be.

You accept and acknowledge the beauty in what and who they already are.

You don’t try to change them according to how you think they should be.

You see quality and beauty in what they already are. And how your relation already is.

And this feeling, this experience is gorgeous and mesmerizing.

Because you see everything in different light.

All you need is to try to lower your expectations and to replace the word expectations with QUALITY on all occasion.

Go now. And be awesome.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/great-expectations/

*That Indian Minimalist crossed more than 100 readers few days back, I really feel inspired by this. Thank you and keep reading, sharing and commenting.

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Minimalism- What Is Success?

 

I attended a seminar recently.

From an apparently very ‘successful’ person.

He boasted all about his life.

He boasted how he was some Olympiad champion.

He also boasted how he holds such a brilliant position in some company.

He boasted about his cars, bungalows and packages. And trips. And many more such luxuries.

And not with much subtlety, he established that his life is like the benchmark of being successful.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I was also inspired. He talked in a mesmerizing manner. And all that jazz.

His talk got over. He went out and I went behind him to ask few questions.

And, I saw that he was shouting at his driver.

He belittled him. He condescended him. And few seconds later, he slapped him. Apparently because the driver parked in the wrong place. And the driver was feeling humiliated and was on the verge of a break down.

This is success?

Probably for him, yes.

For me, no.

And I came back home and I pondered: What is success?

Is being rich and having many bungalows success?

Is having a chauffeur driven high-end car success?

Is occupying a big position in a multinational corporate house success?

Is being an entrepreneur success?

Is being a celebrity success?

Is starting a blog success?

Is converting a blog into online business success?

Is writing a book success?

Is being a teacher success?

Is thinking that neither of them is true, success?

What the fuck is success?

And, I realized I am thinking it all wrong.

Success for most of its part is subjective.

I probably might feel I am successful but you might not. You probably might feel I am successful but I wouldn’t think the same for myself.

The definition of success too will change from time to time for you.

Few months back, success for me was stacking up money and showing it off. Now, success is not the same for me.

The definition of success changed.

We have been led to believe that success is something generalized. That there is a fix success template: that is having loads of money, big bungalow, expensive cars and luxuries alike.

Now, this might be actually success for some of us.

For the rest of us, we just follow it blindly thinking that the world can decide for us that what success is. That the society is the ultimate judge of whether we’re successful or not.

And when that delusion shatters, it pains. Terribly.

The question still remains that what is success?

For most of the part, a myth.

Because no one can tell you what success is for you and the definition of success will change for you.

And so, I stopped aiming to be successful.

You heard it right.

I don’t want to be successful.

Instead now I aim to be valuable. 

Being valuable. Creating value. For yourself. For the people around. For the whole fucking world.

Something which will constantly push me to be a better person. A better human. And better at everything I do. Every relation. Every work. Everything. Not perfect. But better.

I’ll ask myself before doing anything, “Have I created value?”

If the answer is yes, I am on the right track.

If the answer is no, I am probably off track.

Value can be anything.

As small as giving someone a hug to as big as creating a multinational giant which fills in a gap of missing value.

As small as be true to all the relations you have. To be true to yourself. And it can be as humongous as solving a social need.

As small as just being there for someone. As small as loving someone. To as large as being a hope for someone.

As small as breathing and as large as living.

To create value.

Genuine happiness lies here.

We are humans: beings of creation. We want to create.

If this post affects one person also, I know I have created value for that person.

If I inspire someone, I know I have created value.

If I help someone, I know have created value.

Create value.

For me, this small change in perception has turned my whole fucking life tipsy curvy.

Every night, I look in the mirror and I ask myself, ” Have I created value?”

If the answer is yes, I sleep soundly.

If the answer is no, I go and create value.

Praising the deserving. Helping someone. Or just reassuring. Or making someone smile.

Creating value is not difficult, if you have the aim to do that.

I don’t know whether being successful equates with being happy.

I definitely know that creating value equates to being happy.

And being happy is anyways the whole point.

Isn’t it?

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Minimalism and The Unconventional Path

“Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close. You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the “normal people” as they go about their automatic existences. For every time you say club passwords like “Have a nice day” and “Weather’s awful today, eh?”, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like “Tell me something that makes you cry” or “What do you think déjà vu is for?”. Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator. But what if that girl in the elevator, and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work, are thinking the same thing? Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others.”

― Timothy Leary

I like to stroll at park in the night. Once the madness of the day is slowly turning into the calm and beautiful night. The surrealism and cold wind.

That time, I take my ear plugs  and I go for a stroll in the nearby park.

Like most of the other jogger’s park, this one too has a round track to walk or run or just take a casual stroll. And in ALL the jogger’s park, people walk in either Anti-Clock direction or the clockwise direction. Usually the latter. But not both.

And other day, I was lost in my thoughts and music and I happened to walk from anti-clockwise instead of the  regular clockwise.

I realized it instantly as people started to stare at me as I have done something really terrible.

And I got really uncomfortable. Because they were staring and looking at me like I am some kind of terrible rule breaker.

For that moment, I became conscious. I became vulnerable. Fear gripped me and I instantly changed my direction to the regular.

I came out and I thought about it: did I do something wrong? No, I didn’t.

I just probably liked the opposite way more than the regular way that day. I didn’t break traffic rules or something. Then what made me so uncomfortable? What made me so conscious?

It was the fear of being different.

Of walking on the opposite direction of people. Of getting stares from people. Of being talked about.  Of breaking the conventions.

This was just a walk and an observation.

But I learnt from it.

Don’t we do that with our life as well in so many spheres?

We’re afraid to do what we love. Afraid to do what we like. Afraid to do what we truly want to do.

But we choose to ignore it. Because many people don’t do what we love. Or it isn’t a safe bet. Maybe, it is not right. They will judge you. They will question you. They will say you’re out-of-place. They will flaunt their definition of success and ask you to follow the same, regardless of whether you wish to or not.

And more often than not, we give away.

We trade our souls just to fit in the crowd. We try to do same things which the masses do, regardless of whether we want to do it or not truly.

We compare ourselves to others and we try to be like them, just because it seems society approves of them.

We do jobs which we think will be approved the society. We try to live a lifestyle which we think won’t be questioned. Or which will help us to fit in the crowd so that  no-one questions. Or those stares. Or the fear of standing out.

Over the years, we as a society, have developed things that a person needs to do to ‘just fit’. And we follow that blindly.

Because we’re too afraid of the unconventional.

We’re too afraid of the idea of failure. We’re too afraid of being judged.

We’re too afraid of standing out.

We’re afraid. We are frightened.

So we decide to just exist. And not live.

Because that’s easy, right? You’ll be society approved. And everyone will see you as the perfect idol. And that probably will satiate your ego as well.

But ask yourself, “Is what you do or how you live is true to your own thoughts, ideals, values and wishes?”

If the answer is yes, you have my applauds.

If the answer is no, we have  an issue.

Internet has mislead us in many ways. Assuming that to live an unconventional path is to probably roam all around the world. Or just to live with one back pack. Or to be freelance writer roaming around states. Or to live virtually. Or probably to open the next Fortune 500. Or to be a Minimalist.

It is not that. Not for me at least.

All I mean by unconventional is for you to stay true to who you’re.

All I mean is that you do what you love.

It can be a job. It can be just to stay with your family and take care of them. It can be being a teacher. But what makes you come alive. What keeps  you happy. What keeps you yearning for life. What keeps you living. What keeps you dreaming. What keeps you curious.

What is self approved and not society approved.

What is self driven and not society driven.

When you live, truly live, and not just exist.

Why call it unconventional then?

Look around. No just look. There are people all around who are doing what they detest, for a lack of stronger words. They live by the ‘apparent’ code and conduct of the society. And they will come to you. And, they will tell you that this is how life works.

They do everything they do for the approval of the society and others. Not for themselves or because they like it but just because everyone is doing that. Or probably because that’s the ‘safe’ option. Or because their friends are doing. Or the whole fucking college is doing that (Insert: N.M. College and C.A.) It doesn’t matter.

The only thing that matters is that whether you want to do it. Whether you come alive by doing that. Whether you feel like living while doing it.

If you don’t. Change that.

You see your whole life is a Jogger’s park track. It is round. There are no rules of directions.

You can walk anti-clockwise. Nothing is wrong in that.

If that is what you want to do. Fucking do that.

There is nothing wrong in it. You’re not breaking any rules. You’re just doing what you love.

I can say some inspirational quote about life being too short and you having too less time and stuff over here.

But you get my point, don’t you?

Dare to un-belong.

If the path you love is seldom walked. It doesn’t matter. You’ll walk it.

If the path you love is opposite to what everyone else is doing. It doesn’t matter. You live for yourself. You deserve to do what you love. You deserve to come alive.

If everyone is saying you won’t make it and is forcing you to come to mediocrity. You can choose not to. Have belief in your path. In your dreams. In yourself.

Choose excellence. Always. Choose life. Always. Choose yourself. Always.

Almost the time for my stroll. In the park. This time, I choose to go anti-clockwise.

Would you?

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Minimalism- 8 Things I realized in the past month.

“One thing: you have to walk, and create the way by your walking; you will not find a ready-made path. It is not so cheap, to reach to the ultimate realization of truth. You will have to create the path by walking yourself; the path is not ready-made, lying there and waiting for you. It is just like the sky: the birds fly, but they don’t leave any footprints. You cannot follow them; there are no footprints left behind.”
― Osho

Revelations.

It has been few days past a month since this blog came into existence.

That means over a month of following Minimalism. Over a month of buying consciously. Over a month of focusing on things I love. Over a month of eliminating the superfluous. Over a month of focusing on being a better person.

Over a month of living: real, hard and consciously.

Here are the things, I learnt in this past over 1 month of this blog and following minimalism:

  • Life beyond the Auto Pilot Mode:
    If there is one thing I absolutely adore about this lifestyle is that it helped me to live more consciously. To question every decision I take. To question why I think the way I do. To not do things just because.To live beyond that “Just Because it happens this way” I rejected that lifestyle.Probably you should also try?

    It is hard but so worth it. You see the truth behind everything. And more importantly, you start to know your true self. Till the time, I was living on Auto-Pilot mode. I was doing things which other felt like I should do ideally. Or the things which society thinks, I should do ideally.Break off the “ideally”. Do something because you want to. Do something because you feel like. Question everything that is to question. And decide everything on your own.

    Take control, mate. Remember it is your life?

     

  • Things that has happened, is happening or will happen is something that you’ve chosen:
    You’re what you’re because of choices you made. You’re what you were because of the choices you made. You will be what you will be because of the choices you will make. Life is a choice.Sure there are external factors and sure they affect but in the end all that matters and all that has a major impact is how you react to those external forces. That will define your life. That will define you. Nothing else. That. The choice you make.The things you choose. The emotions you choose. The people you choose. The situations you choose to react on. Choice.

    Do you comprehend? Realize it and realize it now. Your life is a choice. Big fucking choice. Choose carefully.

  • No longer trying to buy emotions:
    If there is one lesson which completely shocked me was this.I was in a no buying phase. This whole January, I kept my purchase only in the essentials. And in that too, I questioned everything I bought.Once you start questioning your purchase. Everything on which you spend money. Everything which you buy. Everything which you wish to buy. Everything.Once I did that, I realized something drastic and shattering.I used to try to purchase emotions and feelings.I didn’t want to buy or rent things. I wanted to buy and rent emotions and feelings. I wanted to buy security, comfort, approval. I wanted to buy joy. I wanted to buy satisfaction. I wanted to buy happiness. Unfortunately, they are not available for sale or rent.

    I stopped doing that. Now, I just buy things as tool. Not as a source of happiness and approval. So, I need less. I want less. And yet, ironically, I feel fuller than ever before. Win-win, amigo.

  • The most important person is you:
    As narcissistic and clichéd it may sound, it is true. The most important person in your life is you. Your top priority should be you. Everything you do, you should be doing keeping in mind the effect it will have on you.Everything, every person, every relation is because of you. If you fall, they all fall.If you are not happy, there is no point to any of them.Being compassionate and loving towards your own self is possibly the most underrated skill. Develop it.Your rest of the life and everything you’ll be and you’ll do, depends on that single person which is YOU.
  • The Incomplete Circle of Relationships:
    I had a friend in 9th Standard. A close friend at that time and then we had a fall-out, as most high school friendships does. We had a spat. And it is only in this month I realized that somewhere that incomplete thing is bothering me.I have her yet in my mind. So, Imessaged her. I said sorry. My circle is complete.  And it feels great. Just complete your circles.With everyone. Either forgive or ask for forgiveness.

    Give a fucking closure to it. Give it.

    All the times when you say, ” I don’t what is bothering me” more often than not, it is these incomplete circles.

    Incomplete relations.

    Give them a closure.

    Do it.

    You’ll thank yourself later.

     

  • People will see you as you see yourself: They are mirrors:
    People’s opinion change as soon as you change your outlook towards yourself. It is a law of causation at work.If you change your opinions and your thinking and your outlook about yourself, people eventually will automatically start seeing you in that light.They will resist at first, asking you why are you changing. We’re genetically programmed to be reluctant to change.But in the end, they see you as you see yourself.

    They reflect on you. Mere reflection.

    Try that if you don’t believe. I have experienced it. I am sure, you’ll too.

  • Avoiding judgmental behavior is tough. But try. It is worth it:
    I soon realize that I judge people too much. Too often and without knowing much. It probably satiate my some kind of emotional need. I am yet to figure what.But I also realized that this kind of judgmental behavior is crucially wrong and not only to them but to myself.I am filling my head with lots of garbage. I am judging someone without even knowing what the person is going through which would mean that the premise and the base itself is flawed.

    Try not judging. It is difficult. But to an extent, possible. Instead try to understand why person is doing what they are doing. What is it that is forcing them to do that.

    Ask questions. You’ll do yourself a big favor.Don’t judge, my friend. At least try not to. Consciously. Love, mate.

  • I and my emotions are two separate things:
    I have a whole other post dedicated to this topic. Yes but in gist, I realized this thing. You and your emotions are not one. You’re not always angry or agitated or irritated or a complete arse.That would mean that these factors, these emotions are external to you.So that means, you’ve choice. You can choose. Embrace the positive and discard the negative.When anger comes, watch it, observe it and let it pass unprocessed and not judged. It will go away. Quicker than you think. So let it pass.

    Do remember. Emotions are a matter of choice. You choose whether to react or not.

    Decide wisely.

This journey, till now, has been real gorgeous. And you people are extremely brilliant. Thank you for supporting this blog and my views with so much love and support.

I have found some amazing content. Learnt brilliant things and made few friends. All in this one little month.

Again, thank you.

But this is just the beginning. This first month. There are many lessons to learn. And many things to realize.

Keep reading.

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Minimalism- What I learnt from screwing up in a PC Game

“But we all make mistakes. It’s how we fix them that makes us who we are.”
― Jessica Sorensen

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Recently I was playing a point-click adventure game: The Longest Journey.

I am not into gaming and stuff, usually.

But this game had: Brilliant Puzzles, deep stories and an element of spirituality.

My kinda game.

A long one, though. Over 50 hours of game play, over 13 chapters.

I was playing, on a particular level and the story was unfolding in a complete mesmerizing manner.

And  then I realized I have committed a mistake.

I have forgotten to solve a piece of puzzle and now I can’t go back to that element and without solving that puzzle, the game wouldn’t go ahead. Wouldn’t move forward.

I was stuck. 

I had two choices in front of me:

1) I had a auto-saved game. But a few chapters back. That would mean facing the mistake I did.

That would mean taking a step back and probably correcting my mistake. Or at least, to learn how to not forget puzzles.

But it would take efforts. More than that, it would have me concurring with my own self that yes, I did a mistake. It would take that ego to come crashing down and accept . And I gotta accept it, take a step back, correct it and then move forward again. And start afresh.

OR

2) I had a shortcut which was this huge internet. I could probably download the save game file from some random site. Tweak things here and there. Alter few registries. Cut, copy and paste. And, I’ll be done.

That would be easy. I wouldn’t have to accept my mistakes. I can just go on without even realizing I did committed the mistake in first place. No badge of that dishonor on me.

And most importantly, it will save me efforts. Now, who will flip through all the past chapters and stuff. Learn and realize mistakes: Too old school, bro.

I had the choice.

I had the choice to decide.

 I chose the 2nd option.

I went straight to the internet for save files.

Downloaded few alien files. Experimented around. Searched for the most easily available shortcut. Changed few names and tweaked few registries.

Cut, copy, paste and voila.

But this game had other plans for me.

I put the files. I restarted and I realized that these files have not registered in the game.

That was not the most terrible part however.

Due to use of my this shortcut, all the previous load files too were deleted.

Over 20 hours of game-play gone. Poof.

I had to restart now.

Not from few chapters behind.

But from the start.

From the God-dammit, cursed start.

But, I am glad, it happened. No really.

I learnt such a valuable lesson in all this.

Now, I know that this instance was just a game but think about it, don’t we approach our mistakes in real life in similar fashion?

We have the choice of facing our mistakes. We have the choice of thinking why, what and how of our falter.

We have the chance to take a step back and think and try to correct that mistake and learn from it in the way.

From the little penance like this, we add a valuable gem of learning in our life. We’ll always remember it.

And, most probably if we learnt good, we’ll never repeat the same mistake. Never in the same fashion at least. We’ve a chance to grow. We’ve a chance to redeem ourselves.

But, there is always a but. Instead, most of the times, we choose to run away from the mistake. Blaming every cursed thing. Finding shortcuts to avoid facing the mistake. Doing all it takes, just to make sure that the big fat ego is satisfied. Of course, we can’t accept we faltered. Of course, how can we take a step back? That would be so not satisfying, to our master: The ego. Oh, and the badge of dishonor.

So we decide to just run away. Or blame people. Or find reasons. Or find shortcuts that will cover everything up. And it will be like we never faltered.

And in most cases, if not all, what happened with me in the game will happen to you.

In order to cover up that one small mistake, to hide it, to not accept it; you might just screw up everything else as well. Destroying the harmony and balance. The peace.

You might just destroy everything that was in order in your life. Just to cover and hide and run from a mistake.

Just accept it. You screwed up. It’s OK to screw up. We all do. The greatest of minds have and they’ll continue to. It’s OK.

Learn from it. Take lessons. Take a step back and try to correct it. In some form or another. If that is not possible. Just learn from it. That should fulfill the purpose. But face. Don’t run away. Don’t find shortcuts. Don’t risk your entire life to cover up for just one mistake.

We all are humans. Humans make mistakes. Humans make bad decisions. Humans do it all. The important thing is to learn from them and outgrow yourself next time. Don’t repeat the same mistakes. Make new ones. Countless new ones. But not the same.

Mistakes always teach us. They are meant to be experiences through which we discover ourselves more and they constantly remind us of our flaws and helps us to work on them.

Embrace mistakes. More importantly, embrace all the learning they bring forth. Might pain a bit. Might take efforts too. But it is better than chaos in your entire life.

One such incident can destroy it all.

Now go make some mistakes and have fun. Learn something new. Fly. Live. Breathe.

Excuse me, now. I have to start with the game again.

Ah, life.

Would love to hear your feedback. Tell me how you deal with mistakes? Do you remember any moment when because of you not accepting or facing a mistake you faced serious consequences? Let me know via comments.

Part of the series- ‘Gems of Minimalism’